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Shuttle Laser AltimeterThe Shuttle Laser Altimeter (SLA) is a Hitchhiker experiment that has flown twice; first on STS-72 in January 1996 and then on STS-85 in August 1997. Both missions produced successful laser altimetry and surface lidar data products from approximately 80 hours per mission of SLA data operations. A total of four Shuttle missions are planned for the SLA series. This paper documents SLA mission results and explains SLA pathfinder accomplishments at the mid-point in this series of Hitchhiker missions. The overall objective of the SLA mission series is the transition of the Goddard Space Flight Center airborne laser altimeter and lidar technology to low Earth orbit as a pathfinder for NASA operational space-based laser remote sensing devices. Future laser altimeter sensors will utilize systems and approaches being tested with SLA, including the Multi-Beam Laser Altimeter (MBLA) and the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS). MBLA is the land and vegetation laser sensor for the NASA Earth System Sciences Pathfinder Vegetation Canopy Lidar (VCL) Mission, and GLAS is the Earth Observing System facility instrument on the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat). The Mars Orbiting Laser Altimeter, now well into a multi-year mapping mission at the red planet, is also directly benefiting from SLA data analysis methods, just as SLA benefited from MOLA spare parts and instrument technology experience [5] during SLA construction in the early 1990s.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Goddard Space Flight Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Bufton, Jack L.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Harding, David J.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Garvin, James B.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
September 1, 1999
Publication Information
Publication: 1999 Shuttle Small Payloads Symposium
Subject Category
Spacecraft Instrumentation
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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